NFU Scotland has written to the UK’s eight largest supermarkets and urged them to play as full a part as possible in ensuring home produce finds a route to shop shelves.
The letter – sent to Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsburys, Aldi, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Co-op – recognises the vital role that the retailers have played in feeding the nation this past month when faced with unprecedented demand in stores and online.
However, many members were justifiably left angry and frustrated by media reports of increased import volumes in some stores. The Union has called on retailers to play their part in supply chain collaboration and give a clear commitment that domestic food production, where possible, is prioritised.
President Andrew McCornick said
At NFU Scotland, our members continue to do all we can to support the nation in navigating these extremely turbulent times.
And our members can be reassured that this is a Union in action doing all it can to support their businesses.
On red meat, letters have been sent to both UK and Scottish Governments on the need, once we enter the recovery phase, for pump-priming promotional activity and we welcome the announcement from QMS today of a campaign to promote beef and lamb this Easter. Hopefully, a united GB campaign that will drive this sector forward can be created using the ringfenced levy funds.
Scotland’s farmers and crofters, producing the finest red meat in the world, were justifiably angered and frustrated at the appearance of Polish beef on some supermarket shelves at the start of this crisis.
NFUS immediately contacted the two retailers involved and received assurances that this was nothing more than a ‘fill gap’ to tide them over during the panic buying spree and it was not something they were intending to repeat. We will hold them to account on that.
All major retailers have been written to in the last 24 hours reminding them that they are uniquely placed, through a clear commitment to domestic sourcing, to give farmers and growers the confidence to continue producing. We need to see Scottish and British on the shelves and not find imported produce, previously destined for the food service sector, diverted onto shop shelves.
One retailer has already confirmed its intention to run a promotion on higher value beef cuts to correct carcase balance issues and maintain the value of the cattle at a time when prices are falling. We would welcome speedy responses from all retailers contacted on what positive actions they have planned in the short term to support food production from farmgate to the plate.